Celebrating 400 Years of the Bard and 43 Years of Queen
Shakespeare died 400 years ago this week, an event marked by much fanfare around the world and throughout the corners, bright and musty alike, of the internet. So what can I offer?
A complete mashup of every Shakespeare play with every Queen song. Wherefore such an undertaking? Probably because the world really needs it.
I was lamenting the fact that Freddie Mercury was not around to play Will in a musical biopic. Since that was no longer possible, however, my next logical conclusion was to reconstruct a Mamma Mia-style experience using pre-existing songs. Because the world needed a Shakespeare & Queen mashup.
I will be unveiling the full list throughout the week, dropping them like a hot new single from Beyoncé.
Why am I an authority? Aside from years of obsessive study, I’ve taught Shakespeare adaptations for ten years. I teach it the right way. The puns are decoded. The sex and fart jokes revealed and relished. So much has been misunderstood (and grossly mishandled at the high school level), and many high school teachers struggle with understanding Shakespeare themselves. I am completely indebted to Pauline Kiernan’s brilliant book Filthy Shakespeare: Shakespeare’s Most Outrageous Sexual Puns, for not only being a delight to read, but for completely revolutionizing my own understanding of the language of these plays.
Shakespeare in his magically-euphemistic glory comes alive when you understand ALL the parts, so we must continue to undo the work of the Puritans and the Bowdlers, who could have used a good scape or quick dance.
And while the lyrics of Queen lack some of the subtlety of Shakespeare’s prose, delightful euphemisms abound as we have some wit broken upon us.
What is in store this coming week? The way I’m categorizing, we’ll have 10 Comedies, 8 Histories, 3 Problem Plays, 10 Tragedies, and 5 Romances all paired up with songs from Queen’s studio albums released with Freddie’s participation.
So get ready to be entertained and maybe even delighted to discover some previously unlocked doors to your own understanding (and enjoyment).